Evidence in agenda setting: new directions for the Cochrane Collaboration

      Since 1993, the Cochrane Collaboration has been pursuing the vision that health care decision making around the world should be informed by high-quality and timely research evidence. The Collaboration follows several key principles, one of which is “striving for relevance.” To achieve this, the general structure of the Collaboration has been set up to facilitate the involvement of clinicians and patients in developing high-quality evidence through a rigorous process. To increase the impact of its reviews, the Collaboration has over the last 5 years recognized the need for a more accountable and systematic approach to selecting research questions for systematic reviews. The recognition of the importance of identifying the right questions has also led to the development of another initiative in the United Kingdom with which the Collaboration has an increasing working relationship, the James Lind Alliance. The James Lind Alliance facilitates the creation and work of Priority Setting Partnerships to identify uncertainties on specific health problems. Several Cochrane review groups work with the James Lind Alliance to identify and prioritize uncertainties patients and clinicians have about the effects of treatments. However, as the James Lind Alliance is a UK-based initiative, this introduces a challenge for the Collaboration to look at the broader picture and identify different approaches to ensure an international aspect in selecting topics for Cochrane reviews [

      Chalmers I. Systematic reviews and uncertainties about the effects of treatments [editorial]. The Cochrane Library. Available at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/details/editorial/691951/Systematic-reviews-and-uncertainties-about-the-effects-of-treatments-by-Sir-Iain.html. Accessed May 12, 2010.

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